01:37 GMT +312 November 2019
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    This April 2, 2009 file photo shows shadows cast on a wall decorated with the NATO logo and flags of NATO countries in Strasbourg, eastern France, before the start of the NATO summit which marked the organisation's 60th anniversary.

    Estonian Interior Minister Says NATO ‘Temporarily Paralyzed’ Over Turkey's Syria Offensive

    © AFP 2019 / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
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    TALLINN (Sputnik) - Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme said Thursday he was concerned that big NATO partners looked elsewhere as cooperation within the alliance came to a standstill.

    The United States and Turkey, both NATO members, have been at odds after Turkish troops crossed into northern Syria to drive away US-backed Kurdish militia. The move was preceded by US President Donald Trump ordering the withdrawal of US troops in line with his presidential campaign promise.

    "NATO is temporarily paralyzed, and this presents a complex problem for us. Big allies of small nations can get distracted by other matters. Donald Trump will be focused on his campaign in the years ahead," Helme told reporters in Tallinn.

    Trump announced on Thursday that the Turkish operation would be suspended for 120 hours to allow Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters to pull back from the border area, which Ankara has designated as a "safe zone." Trump promised that he would lift sanctions on Turkey once the ceasefire took hold.

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    offensive, Estonia, Turkey, NATO
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